French Feminist Theory: An Introduction by Dani Cavallaro

By Dani Cavallaro

French Feminist idea deals an advent to the most important recommendations and subject matters in French feminist inspiration, either the materialist and the linguistic/psychoanalytic traditions. those are explored throughout the paintings of a variety of theorists: Simone de Beauvoir, Chantal Chawaf, Helene Cixous, Catherine Clement, Christine Delphy, Marguerite Duras, Colette Guillaumin, Madeleine Gagnon, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, Nicole-Claude Mathieu, Michele Montreley, Monique Plaza, Paola Tabet and Monique Wittig. The e-book outlines the philosophical and political range of French feminism, environment advancements within the box within the specific cultural and social contexts during which they've got emerged and spread out.

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While Sigmund Freud saw the material penis as the marker of sexual difference, Lacan argues that gender positions are produced by an abstract concept of power. The phallus, more specifically, is supposed to structure gender relations by positing a distinction between having and being, the corollary of which might appear to be that masculinity ‘‘has’’ the phallus, whereas femininity can ‘‘be’’ the phallus. In other words, male subjects are expected – by the patriarchal system governed by masculine discourse – to own that attribute as the ultimate signifier of paternal authority, while female subjects, deemed incapable of such ownership, are expected to embody that signifier for the benefit of others, to incarnate the ultimate symbol of erotic gratification.

48). A sense of commonality, therefore, could be gleaned even from the MLF’s unclearly defined character. Indeed, Le Doeuff commends the fact that the movement ‘never delineated its edges in any way’ and proposes that if it had ‘any particular effects it was due to its diffuse nature’ (p. 49). In this account, polymorphousness, polyphony, boundlessness and a refusal to see the ‘‘woman’s question’’ as the concern of experts are held to have been the MLF’s most salient attributes. ’’ (p. 50). STRUCTURALISM, POSTSTRUCTURALISM AND PSYCHOANALYSIS While the notion of political, ethical and intellectual engagement promoted by Existentialism has doubtless influenced the development of French feminist theory, it is also vital to recognize the latter’s collusion with major developments in the fields of anthropology, literary theory, philosophy of language and psychoanalysis, which found their inception in structuralism and proceeded to inform the intellectual climate associated with poststructuralism.

Human beings, therefore, are ongoing projects perpetually engaged in reinventing their humanity. It is by this realization, in Alfred Cobban’s assessment, that Sartre himself was led to Marxism and politics: ‘each man is his own self-created and self-perpetuating hell. Merely to be is to deny life; to exist is to act, to choose freely; yet freedom of choice is what man cannot have – all he can do is to engage himself in the world, as Sartre himself did in left-wing politics’ (Cobban 1965: 232).

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